Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports for Dec 2

Central & South Oregon Coast Fishing Reports – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet in Salem on Friday, Dec. 2. The meeting begins at 8 a.m. at the ODFW headquarters building, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE in Salem. ODFW will live-stream portions of Friday’s meeting via Periscope on Twitter feed https://twitter.com/MyODFW. The Commission will consider proposed regulations for 2017 groundfish fisheries. Commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries are based on federal regulations and the Commission may adopt additional or more conservative regulations. For the recreational angler, the proposed regulations would retain the seven marine fish bag limit but would:
• Create a sub-bag limit of six black rockfish.
• Remove the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish.
• Add China/quillback/copper rockfishes to the sub-bag limit with blue/Deacon rockfish and change the limit from three to four fish.
• Remove the 10-inch minimum size for kelp greenling.
• Require anglers to carry a rockfish descending device and use it when releasing most rockfish outside 30 fathoms.

If the above topics are of interest, be sure to attend this Salem meeting to let your voice be heard. The complete meeting agenda is available in Random Links.

It’s rare that a forecast appears which we hope does not come to pass as predicted, but so it is with the offshore forecast this week. It appears no one will be launching to fish offshore this week. But we’d love to hear about it if this turns out to be wrong!

Ocean crabbing remains off limits due to high levels of the naturally occurring bio-toxin Domoic Acid, which appears periodically in our Pacific waters. Bay crabbing is NOT allowed. ODFW posts “Recreational crabbing is closed in all bays, estuaries, jetties and beaches from the Tillamook Head (near Seaside, OR) to the California Border.”.See Random Links for more info on this topic.

On a trip to the Alsea earlier this week, a steelheader reported no winter steelhead seen but that he did wrestle with some beautifully-colored coho.

Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports from Reedsport, “It’s mostly bad news. All crabbing in Oregon south of Tillamook Head remains closed. Bay clamming remains open, but most of the recent minus tides have been at night. Most of the rivers are blown out – and even if they weren’t, we are between good fishing for salmon and good fishing for winter steelhead. Rough ocean conditions have kept bottomfish anglers in port and made jetty fishing downright dangerous. Rough surf conditions have kept surfperch anglers from enjoying what is normally good beach fishing.

“We are on the verge of getting some colder weather and last year when the frigid weather hit, it stopped the good yellow perch fishing cold.

“So in an effort to cheer myself up, I’m looking for good news – and the first good news is the realization that almost everything is almost certainly going to get better fairly soon. Bass fishing on the larger coastal lakes is productive by March. The coastal lakes usually start receiving trout plants by April and most of the area’s steelhead streams offer good fishing by mid-December. Always clear Eel Creek opens for steelhead fishing on January 1st.

“But the most encouraging thing I found was an article by Ken Pope that covered an event that happened 3,000 miles away

“I wish this encouraging article by Karl Pope was about the Pacific Ocean. With the crabbing and shellfish closures we could certainly use good news, but I found this article very encouraging anyway. Pope is an ex-executive director and former chairman of the Sierra Club. The article states that that the mercury levels in Atlantic Bluefin tuna, because of tougher emission rules on power plants and a declining use of coal, in only eight years dropped by 19 percent.

“There are similar findings for bluefish, but tuna are much longer lived, so the results are extremely surprising — concentrations of mercury in even much older tuna fell at the same or faster rate as mercury concentrations in sea water, suggesting that fisheries contamination can be reversed far more quickly than anyone had dreamed.

“Bluefin tuna are still not healthy for women of child-bearing age — and most of the tuna which had led over 10 percent of U.S. women having unhealthy mercury in their blood is not from the Atlantic Ocean, which is healing, but from the Pacific, where coal consumption and mercury loading remains unabated.

“Mercury contamination is a serious public health issue. In the U.S. alone, hundreds of thousands of newborns are at risk of lower IQ’s from the mercury burden they are borne with. Concentrations of mercury have been coming down as a result of broad public education and advisories on which fish to avoid. Overall, mercury emissions in the U.S. have also declined sharply as a result of EPA regulation.

“Now the news from the North Atlantic suggests that globally the epidemic of mercury poisoning can be reversed far more rapidly than scientists had imagined. Requiring the cleanup of coal power plant emissions in Asia, the globe’s largest remaining source of mercury pollution, will begin to allow Pacific Ocean fisheries to recover as well. It’s important that countries considering the economics of building coal factor in the almost certain necessity to control for mercury — and when they do, they are likely to find that coal power is no longer economically competitive, so that not only will current plants reduce their emissions, but fewer new ones will make any kind of economic sense — which will be wonderful news for the communities where coal is mined and burned, as well as the climate.

“More fundamentally, the North Atlantic story goes at the heart of the popular version of climate denialism — which is the initially plausible notion that the world is so large, and each human so small, that it’s just not likely that anything each of us does can really change the climate — or poison the oceans. And if we have, it’s so terrifying that we really don’t believe we can do anything about it. Isn’t it too late?

“What the declining mercury level in Bluefin tuna shows is that we can — and have — had enormous impacts on the natural world, but that we can, and are, reversing those impacts. Nature, if we stop abusing her, can heal herself not in centuries or even decades, but mere years.”

“Steelhead and salmon anglers need to pay close attention to river flows. There are almost always a few streams that are open and in prime fishing condition.

“Also good news for many is that the ODFW regulations for 2017 should start showing up in fishing tackle retailers this week.

“I wish this encouraging article by Karl Pope was about the Pacific Ocean. With the crabbing and shellfish closures we could certainly use good news, but I found this article very encouraging anyway. Pope is an ex-executive director and former chairman of the Sierra Club. The article follows.

““I couldn’t, post-election, muster a plausibly big enough piece of good news to warrant a Thanksgiving blog — but then this morning one arrived. In an astonishingly short eight years, as a result of tougher emission rules on power plants and a declining use of coal, concentrations of mercury in Atlantic Bluefin tuna, the sushi sort, dropped by 19 percent. There are similar findings for bluefish, but tuna are much longer lived, so the results are extremely surprising — concentrations of mercury in even much older tuna fell at the same or faster rate as mercury concentrations in sea water, suggesting that fisheries contamination can be reversed far more quickly than anyone had dreamed.

“Bluefin tuna are still not healthy for women of child-bearing age — and most of the tuna which had led over 10 percent of U.S. women having unhealthy mercury in their blood is not from the Atlantic Ocean, which is healing, but from the Pacific, where coal consumption and mercury loading remains unabated.

“Mercury contamination is a serious public health issue. In the U.S. alone, hundreds of thousands of newborns are at risk of lower IQ’s from the mercury burden they are borne with. Concentrations of mercury have been coming down as a result of broad public education and advisories on which fish to avoid. Overall, mercury emissions in the U.S. have also declined sharply as a result of EPA regulation.

“Now the news from the North Atlantic suggests that globally the epidemic of mercury poisoning can be reversed far more rapidly than scientists had imagined. Requiring the cleanup of coal power plant emissions in Asia, the globe’s largest remaining source of mercury pollution, will begin to allow Pacific Ocean fisheries to recover as well. It’s important that countries considering the economics of building coal factor in the almost certain necessity to control for mercury — and when they do, they are likely to find that coal power is no longer economically competitive, so that not only will current plants reduce their emissions, but fewer new ones will make any kind of economic sense — which will be wonderful news for the communities where coal is mined and burned, as well as the climate.

“More fundamentally, the North Atlantic story goes at the heart of the popular version of climate denialism — which is the initially plausible notion that the world is so large, and each human so small, that it’s just not likely that anything each of us does can really change the climate — or poison the oceans. And if we have, it’s so terrifying that we really don’t believe we can do anything about it. Isn’t it too late?

“What the declining mercury level in Bluefin tuna shows is that we can — and have — had enormous impacts on the natural world, but that we can, and are, reversing those impacts. Nature, if we stop abusing her, can heal herself not in centuries or even decades, but mere years — even the length of the U.S. president’s term.

“This is a good news story we need to tell everyone.”

Steelheading can be a rewarding endeavor on the Coos River in the wintertime, but reports lately have not mentioned landing any fish. And no luck on the Millicoma, as well. This is still a good prospect.

The only action anglers are finding on the lower Rogue has been for late-season, Indian Creek Chinook, a few of which may be found lingering at the mouth of the creek. There’s still not much action from Dodge Bridge to Grants Pass although steelheaders are still holing up occasionally at the mouths of creeks on this stretch with either cured eggs (which steelhead continue to hit despite the end of chinook spawning) or drifting worms, particularly during or following a freshet. Plug-pullers are taking decent coho on occasion but there are few remaining and fewer still of decent color and hatchery origin. Upper rogue anglers are still playing the best odds, particularly above Shady Cove Boat Ramps where bait as well as any legal lure may be used. These folks fishing this stretch are not only catching summer steelhead but coho as well, some of which are even bright(ish). As with Chinook, al wild coho must be released on the Rogue. Side-drifting has been most productive here, with the Rogue producing better for those fishing the upper reaches of the bait-fishing stretch. Similarly, pressure is light below Shady Cove where only lures are allowed and no bait, but then fewer summer steelhead are available here as well.

Salmon fishing has been good on the Chetco River with many limits reported over the past week,
including several 40-pounders. Now that Chinook season is winding down here, anglers will change their
focus to winter steelhead with several landed so far this season. With the Chetco River at 3,450 cfs and
dropping, it’ll be a little low for optimum conditions but fishable and forecast to continue moderating in
level and flow until mid-day Sunday, December 4th.

Snow started falling at Diamond Lake this week on the evening on Tuesday, November 29th. While the
ground looks like winter, Ice fishing, if it happens, is still weeks away.